TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced the groundbreaking of the Grow Hays MicroFactory, an incubator for manufacturers in Central Kansas. The 30,000 square-foot facility is one of 35 infrastructure investment projects made possible by the Building a Stronger Economy (BASE) grant program launched by the Kansas Department of Commerce earlier this year.
“Growing our economy means giving local communities the tools they need to prosper,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “The innovative MicroFactory will provide a launching pad for future manufacturing companies in Ellis County and surrounding areas, fostering entrepreneurship, creating new jobs, and attracting investment to the region.”
The Grow Hays MicroFactory will be an incubator for four to six small manufacturers at a time to get their businesses off the ground, then move on to their own facilities. The vacated space at the MicroFactory would then be repurposed for the next startup and the cycle would start anew.
“The Kelly Administration is committed to removing barriers to entry for small manufacturers with big ideas,” said Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland. “Partnering with economic development leaders at the community level ensures state investments match the needs of that community.”
In April, Governor Kelly announced $100 million was being distributed to BASE grant recipients, including $2.6 million to the MicroFactory. Funding was approved by the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee, which had allocated federal COVID-19 relief funds. The BASE grant program offered matching funds with the goal of expanding business within the state.
“The Grow Hays MicroFactory will be an incubator for small and startup manufacturing companies,” said Doug Williams, Executive Director of Grow Hays Inc. “The facility will be designed specifically to meet the need of manufacturers with various amounts of space allocated to tenants as needed. Rental rates for the space will be well below market rates to ensure businesses have every opportunity to succeed and grow.”
The MicroFactory must complete the project within two years of receiving the award. Local officials expect construction to begin within 30 to 60 days.
Photos from today’s groundbreaking ceremony for media use can be found below.